EU, UNDP to help Afghan women study in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

NUR-SULTAN – The European Union (EU) will provide two million euro ($2.2 million) for 50 Afghan women to support economic empowerment through education and training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as part of a project to be administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

UN Women will also organise summer schools on entrepreneurship and networking contributing to the women’s post-study employment, reported the EU in Kazakhstan press service. 

“I believe the Afghan people need to feel and see that the international community unites and supports the reconciliation process in the country. That’s why the EU has decided to work very closely with the Central Asian countries to support projects that can help connect the neighbouring countries and countries of the region, in particular the connectivity projects and projects aimed at education and employment, in particular Afghan women,” said EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini. 

UNDP Regional Director in Europe and Central Asia Mirjana Spoljaric Egger noted technical cooperation and knowledge exchange among countries can play a huge role in boosting development. 

“This collaboration will create new opportunities for cross-regional collaboration and growth,” she said.  

According to the 2018 UNDP Human Development Report, 11 percent of all adult Afghan women have reached at least a secondary level of education and only 19.5 percent are employed, compared to 37 percent and 87 percent for men, respectively. In 2016-2017, more than half of the Afghan population was living below the poverty line. 

“We cannot build the future we want and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the full participation of women. Investing in women and girls is one of the best investments a country can make in its future,” said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.

Applications for bachelor’s, master’s and technical programmes in agriculture, applied statistics and mining are available July 22-Aug. 9. The grant covers the cost of tuition, housing, travel and a monthly stipend. Scholarship holders will take a one-year English language course from October 2019-May 2020.

The main selection criteria are knowledge of English (not lower than elementary level) and successfully completing interviews with members of the commission.